James Madison Papers

To James Madison from James M. Bell, 25 September 1821

From James M. Bell

Orange Ct House 25th. Sep: 1821.

Dear sir

I regret much that my personal acquaintance with you is so limited; However, from the long and intimate one that has prevailed between our families you will no doubt pardon me for breaking in upon your time by requesting you to use your influence (consistent with your feelings) to obtain a berth for my son William Bell1 at West Point. He is between eighteen & nineteen years old and I trust from his general moral deportment and his susceptibility of improvement would not prove an ill timed patronage. A grateful acknowledgment will be rememberd by your attention. I am Sir Yr Most Obt. H Servt.

James M. Bell2

PS. My place of residence is near Culpeper Ct House J. M. Bell

RC (DLC). Docketed by JM.

1William Bell (1803–1874) entered the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York, on 1 July 1822. For many years, he was a clerk in the U.S. Post Office in Washington (Register of the Officers and Cadets of the U.S. Military Academy, June, 1823 [1823; reprint, West Point, N.Y., 1884], 15; John W. Bell, Memoirs of Governor William Smith, of Virginia. His Political, Military, and Personal History [New York, 1891], 4, 128).

2James Madison Bell (d. 1840) was a Culpeper County, Virginia, planter and the father of Peter Hansborough Bell, governor of Texas, 1849–53 (Chapman’s Adm’rs v. Shepherd’s Adm’r & als., 24 Gratt. 377, 380 [Peachy R. Grattan, comp., Reports of Cases Decided in the Supreme Court of Appeals of Virginia (33 vols.; Richmond, Va., 1845–81)]; Sobel and Raimo, Biographical Directory of the Governors, 4:1516–17).

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